Happy Friday! Still ill but medicated, hope everyone has exciting weekend plans. In the District we’re finally about to see some genuine spring weather, so ignore the rumored snow slated to hit next week and get out and enjoy the sunshine. In honor of this week’s pseudo return to pre-Berlin Wall days:
Edited to add:
- MICHIGAN GOES RAINBOWS.
- Via AJ: One woman’s quest in Argentina to pass her culture on to her daughter.
- In unshocking news: The Ayatollah of Iran thinks the Holocaust may not have happened, so there’s that.
- A group of journalists in Afghanistan are boycotting coverage of the Taliban following the attack in Kabul.
- Overheard in DC. Happy Friday!
- In a horrifying moment that will ideally remind us all of just how crucial immigration reform is, an eight year-old committed suicide after being deported. If you feel sick, you should, and probably call your congressmen and senators as well.
- Speaking of: Returning to Mexico but “sounding American”, via AJ. Also in culture and this time with a sports slant: Two soccer (football) teams, one blurring border.
- Mysterious Missing Plane updates: In a search now involving multiple world powers and little to no answers, it will please everyone to know that India and China are duking it out. India’s very involved, though. And we still have nada.
- Report: Climate change may trigger consequences so massive we don’t even want to go there.
- So much drama over in Eastern Europe, but the Pentagon isn’t ready. Obama has stepped up sanctions, but is it enough? Russia has been dealing out its own sanctions in a scenario that is slowly dissolving into a “And you get sanctions! And you get sanctions! And you!” game of knock-out. Senator John McCain had this to say:
John McCain’s statement on being sanctioned by Putin: “I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off, my Gazprom stock is lost, and my secret bank account in Moscow is frozen. Nonetheless, I will never cease my efforts on behalf of the freedom, independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea.”
- Texas moment: Even when women go after Wendy Davis, it’s really men.
- Paternity leave: Why two weeks off isn’t enough.
- Can Google Fiber help bridge the digital divide?
- The Taliban has claimed responsibility for attack that killed 9 foreigners in an attack on a hotel in Kabul; the hotel had been something of a refuge previously. A reporter was among those killed.
- Pajhwok: 55 more inmates freed from Bagram jail.
- Pakistan is getting ready to ink a deal importing electricity from India.
- Peter Bergen calls bullsh** on that NYT article alleging Pakistan knew where Bin Laden was.
- A senior bureaucrat may have been kidnapped.
- In the most serious news you will read all week, ladies & gents & everyone else, we have some severe Pakistani peacock drama on our hands.
- The BJP has announced a second race for its candidate Modi. The BJP is also causing multiple levels of controversy this election season.
- Rapists get life in prison, verdict unlikely to change rape epidemic.
Middle East & North Africa:
- The US has canceled a summit with divided Gulf nations after a significant level of tension within the region.
- Economic recovery is looking dimmer and dimmer in Iran.
- Lebanon’s new government has officially been given the go-ahead after political deadlock.
- The former American envoy for Syria sees Assad staying in power.
- Syrian forces have seized a castle along the Lebanese border.
- Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood continue to face off.
- Two kindergartners have been killed in a school poisoning.
- A Thai court has ruled February polls invalid.
Europe & Eurasia:
- Keeping on with the good fight as always, Turkish citizens and supporters all over the world are fighting the Turkish government’s war on social media. You can signal boost using #TwitterisBlockedinTurkey and #TurkeyBlockedTwitter. Prime Minister Erdogan is determined to wipe out the site, despite the fact that Turkey is one of the top ten countries for Twitter users worldwide.
- Every Pole has probable cause to mistrust everyone. Especially when it involves Russia. Even moreso when it involves Russia and the West. So this is hardly shocking.
- Sorry Ukraine. Crimea is Russia’s now.
- Kampala, Uganda has a serious toilet issue.
- Cuba, a country where new cars still remain a dream, following years of economic sanctions and international tension.
- A First Nations group is being threatened by clear-cutting.
- The military has no accountability part one million.
- This week in race: Black preschoolers are more likely to be suspended. And, in a nod to my alma mater where such conversations occurred daily, racial microaggressions are now more commonly discussed. ALSO. Civil rights groups are furious with ABC Family over a new show, Alice in Arabia, a horribly offensive show whose plot description essentially sums up why people are livid:
The show, “Alice in Arabia,” tells the story of an American teenage girl who is kidnapped by her relatives and taken to Saudi Arabia, where she is kept as a prisoner in her Muslim grandfather’s home.
According to ABC’s plot summary, “Alice must count on her independent spirit and wit to find a way to return home while surviving life behind the veil.”
In a statement issued Wednesday, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) said ABC Family is “promoting bigotry and stereotyping of millions of Arabs and Arab-Americans and billions of Muslims around the world” and said the show “perpetuates demeaning stereotypes.”
The show is problematic because it portrays Arabs as “kidnappers and oppressors of women, reinforces harmful stereotypical depictions of the communities as thieves, criminals, persons who engage in violent acts, captives and/or persecutors,” the ADC said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also expressed concern over the pilot’s potential to perpetuate stereotypes and orientalist views of the Middle East.
- FP: The NSA is bipolar (personal interpretation). Somewhat related: Google says your Gmail is more private now.
- Yellen says the Fed may raise rates sooner than expected.
- Michigan has introduced a plan for free college tuition.
- Two interesting studies on Alzheimer’s this week, one on its sources and another on the effect the disease takes on loved ones and caretakers.
- A tribe in the NY-NJ area is addressing health problems stemming from pollution.
- Simon Schama talks 2,000+ years of Jewish history and his book, The Story of the Jews.
- In Detroit, there are some really good people and some of them are seamstresses working to help the homeless survive the horrors of winter.